Short Story – Gareth Beats The Dragon

Gareth had finally vanquished the dragon, and probably should have been feeling pretty good about himself right now. He gave the rust-coloured, scaly corpse a kick in the leg.

“Yeah,” he said, and the crowd of grateful peasants, kings and pretty girls cheered.

He kicked it again, for the want of anything else useful to do, and the crowd cheered again.

His birthmark itched, the one on his swordarm, the one shaped like a dead dragon. He watched the birthmark fade.

“Huzzah! You shall marry a pretty girl,” bellowed King Umbert, a bearded barrel of a monarch and the crowd cheered once again. “A princess! You shall have everything promised to you, and you shall never want for anything ever again. The pretty girls of our kingdom are well versed in the homemaking arts, and are,” he patted his belly, “good at cakes.”

“Great, thank you,” said Gareth. He looked down at the dragon. It was huge, and ugly, and had taken a lifetime to track down and kill. It was the last of its breed.

An unfamiliar itch started on his right arm: a new birthmark, shaped like a man in an armchair, kicking back, taking it easy. A new birthright.

“You won’t be needing this,” said Umbert, taking the blood-streaked Dread Sword of Destiny from Gareth. “We’ll frame it or something. Would you like some cake?”

“Cake,” said Gareth, and he kicked the dragon. And kicked it again, harder.

“Get up you bastard! Get up! I’m not finished!”

******
Gareth Beats The Dragon
by Harris
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Comedy Sketches – A Spotter’s Guide

In which I present a list of different types of comedy sketch, because why not, and also because if you’re writing a sketch, maybe this will help.
(Note: this list is not exhaustive, although it exhausted me.)

INVERSION

Up is down, black is white, dogs and cats living together… Inversion sketches present a character or situation behaving the opposite to what we might expect. For characters, this will often be an inversion of status: a childish judge, an over-emotional nightclub bouncer, a Tory MP with a human heart (satire).

MISDIRECTION / PULL BACK AND REVEAL

This is the sketch equivalent of the “…and then I got off the bus” punchline. Best kept short. An example would be a CSI-type set up, with experts gathered around an unseen “corpse” talking about signs of burning, teeth marks, spatter patterns etc – THEY’RE ONLY LOOKING AT A PIZZA! LOL!

EXAGGERATION

An exaggeration sketch will take a recognisable situation and distort it via exaggeration. Possibly I didn’t need to write that.

DISPLACEMENT

A sketch in which we take a character and put them in a completely inappropriate/unexpected environment. Prince Philip on Pointless, Bear Grylls on a perfume counter (ooh, that’s good, I might use that).

ANACHRONISM

A sketch in which characters/situations shouldn’t be together as they belong in different eras – Henry VIII having to deal with a chugger, or Hitler signing on (don’t do this one). Or Armstrong and Miller’s WW2 Fighter Pilots – the look is one era, the dialogue is another. Random.

THE ESCALATOR

Escalator sketches start off sensible and then ramp up the absurdity until they end up being completely silly/surreal. See Python’s Four Yorkshiremen boasting who had the worst childhood, or the dirty knife sketch.

PARODY

See Scary Movie. Or rather don’t. See French and Saunders’ movie parody sketches, or anything John Culshaw does. Or, again, don’t see those. Let’s avoid parody.

THE LIST / REPETITION SKETCH

Pick a topic, load up thesaurus.com or Wikipedia, you’re away.

I’M WITH STUPID

There’s this normal character, right, and then there’s this not-normal character. And the normal character reacts to the not-normal one. A classic sketch ensues.

REFRAMING

A sketch which relocates an activity. General election in Narnia.

THE WORLD’S WORST

Think of a job or activity. Think of the very worst person who could be doing it. Write that.

X-RAY / HANG A LANTERN SKETCH

Highlighting the absurdity of a character or situation by having the characters point it all out. Can also include “meta sketches” – sketches which are about themselves. Clever.

That’s probably enough taxonomising of comedy for now. But if you can think of any other categories, or better examples than the ones I’ve got, let me know and I’ll see about updating the list.

Edinburgh to get Petted.

Well, we’ve just booked outselves a run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012.

August 16th-26th, 11.05pm at The Alcove, Bar 50.

It’s going to be messy.

The award-winning* Heavy Petting will make you laugh your socks off (bring spares) with their sketches, jokes and faces. An hour of relentless hilarity – your sides will ache, then split, then catastrophically and irreversibly rupture. You’ll be wishing for a dull moment THAT WILL NEVER COME as you try to stop your kidneys sliding out of the side of you.

Between them Heavy Petting have written or made stuff for BBC2 (Shooting Stars), BBC3 (Comedy Shuffle), Radio 4 (The Wondermentalist Cabaret), Dave (Totally Viral) and Take Hart (a painting of a fish).

Heavy Petting: we smell funny. It’s a start.

*25 Metres Crawl, Best Chutney (Hot) and Blue Peter badge (gold).

See you there!